SILIANA (Tunisia), Nov 28: More than 250 people were wounded on Wednesday in a second day of clashes between Tunisian security forces and thousands of protesters in a poor southwestern town, a hospital source said.
An emergency medic at the hospital in Siliana said 206 people had been treated for bruises, fractures and cuts, some of them having been hit by buckshot.
Nineteen people were hit in the eye, and some of them transferred to a clinic in Tunis for treatment.
Several thousand protesters had turned out for a second day to call for the resignation of Ahmed Ezzine Mahjoubi, the governor of Siliana, a poor farming region 120 kilometres south of Tunis.
They were also demanding funds to boost economic development and the release of 14 people detained in unrest in April last year.
It was the same sort of economic grievance that fuelled the Arab Spring uprising that toppled veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali early last year.
A correspondent for the TV news channel France 24, David Thomson, and his Tunisian colleague were hit by police fire, he said. They were rushed to hospital, but their lives was not in danger.
Tensions were stoked by rumours that some of the protesters had been killed, but hospital and police sources denied any deaths.
The emergency services in Siliana were visibly overwhelmed, as relatives of the victims gathered and vented their anger, a correspondent reported.
“We will burn the town!” shouted a man whose son was among those injured.
The interior ministry refused to comment on the unrest or to supply figures for the number of people injured.
Several armoured vehicles belonging to the national guard deployed in the town, while protesters barricaded the streets, some of them with burning tyres, as they had on Tuesday.
By early evening, sporadic clashes were taking place between the police and stone-throwing demonstrators, while thick clouds of tear gas were visible throughout the day.
But the police later withdrew from the town, according to the official TAP news agency, citing the interior ministry.—AFP